TL: Sponsored by Mr Colton Anderson again, and he says he’s appreciative of the comments.
I’ll be back to drawing stuff. I’ll see you guys on Dec 1 for a new TAS chapter.
Chapter 58 – King of the underground (9)
The underground world was seemingly shrouded in endless darkness. The long tunnels were mostly silent, with the exception of the rare dripping sound of water onto the ground.
Medissa had to rest after driving away large batches of uninvited creatures that came from the deeper levels. Even though she was a spirit, it did not mean her Soul Fire could continuously output energy. There was a limit that how active an undead could be.
But there was no need for her to require the use of external sources of light. Her eyes glowed in the darkness from her Soul Fire and allowed her to see far into the tunnels.
The Elven princess did not sit down. She was currently standing up against the wall while holding on to her spear. Countless shards of Rock Panther filled the area around her, as well as the path she had taken earlier. After a moment of silence, she faced towards the end of a forked corner and asked:
“Is there a lift in that direction?”
The only person who was breathing came from the other end of the tunnel. She was not alone in the darkness.
“Yes.” A voice answered her.
Medissa did not reply. She suddenly gripped her lance and readied herself in a combat stance. But she soon had delight on her face and shouted:
The people who came were Brendel and Scarlett, the latter holding up a Light Crystal to light the area. They did not appear too surprised to see Medissa. Ultimately, there were only three possible people who had enough power.
Medissa, Kodan, or the culprits behind the attacks.
But they paused as the light revealed someone else in the tunnel.
“Medissa,” Brendel said, “how did he…..?”
He looked at the silent Kodan sitting on the ground and immediately felt a little confused. The fearsome old man looked thoroughly battered. His forehead, face, and his bluish-grey uniform were full of blood stains. Even his greyish-white hair was a mess.
“Ser Kodan was injured earlier.” Medissa said.
She pointed out subtly and left out information. But she was certain that Brendel understood what she was had in mind.
But the old man scoffed: “Just spit it out. I have become your prisoner. It seems that this little girl still believes I have some use and temporarily sealed a truce between both us.” He tilted his head and looked at Brendel: “But she’s real respectful towards you, boy, saying that the decision is left to her ‘lord’. Go ahead and make it. Do you want to kill or torture me?”
The truth in his mind was something different. He was cursing the Elven girl’s cunning actions. When the mine collapsed, anybody’s instinct ought to be surviving, even for Gold-ranked fighters.
But he would never have known that Medissa was not a ‘living’ person. Her first action was not to retreat but to continue attacking him when the rocks collapsed around them. It was an action equivalent to suicide, and even someone as composed as Kodan received a shock.
Even though his abilities were far superior to hers, he did not have the mood to fight anymore when he realized the place was collapsing and was unprepared to defend himself. In the end, she managed to hurt him badly, and if it were not her, he would have died in a grievance with the rocks burying him as a Gold-ranker.
Though he was filled with disgruntled and stifled emotions, he was secretly impressed with her boldness. If it was him, he might not have the guts to do the same thing she did. As a veteran soldier, he had no words when he was defeated on the battlefield, regardless of the reason.
If he knew that Medissa was a spirit, he would surely regret his decision to take his enemies lightly.
Brendel nodded slightly, before asking: “A truce?”
“Ser Kodan promised to bring me along to find both of you and leave the mines. He’s familiar with this place, enough to know which tunnels lead to the lifts. He even created a tunnel of our own without triggering another collapse. Just a while ago, he told me about a lift that leads up to the main loading area in the third level. There are many tunnels in there that lead to the surface for transportation, so it shouldn’t be blocked.” Medissa explained carefully.
She smiled a little: “If it were not for Ser Kodan, I wouldn’t be able to find my way so quickly.”
Brendel guessed that it was the lift that he had taken down with Cohen when he first came in. He had seen a loading area with three different rails that led upwards. He nodded and glanced at Kodan again:
“What is his condition for the truce?”
“I think I’ll let Ser Kodan speak for himself.”
Kodan eyed Brendel again: “Boy, I know what you’re planning. I have nothing much to say as a prisoner. You can go ahead and take over this place. If you’re lucky, you can get away with it for three months, if not, a month. Palas wouldn’t discover anything wrong during this period. As for my condition, it’s simple. I don’t want to end up like Graudin.”
Brendel’s heart skipped a beat.
[How does he know?]
There was no way to hide the fact that Firburh had a rebellion, but none of the city’s citizens knew what happened to Graudin.
It was hardly surprising that an uprising would happen in that city, yet no one declared that the former lord died in the battle. Thus many believed that Graudin had fled the place through a secret tunnel that fateful night. Only Brendel’s mercenary leaders received his personal confirmation that Graudin had truly died.
[If the outside world received news of Graudin’s death, then the nature of Firburh’s rebellion would be different. Lord Palas will set out with his men right away, and Count Randner will not give Trentheim’s remaining nobles any more time to ‘resolve this situation by themselves’. If that old fox discovers that this territory is in danger of leaving his hands, he would probably bring his armies down in less than two weeks.]
The script that Brendel had in mind was Count Randner sending in his incompetent sons to solve the issue of his territory. That should happen as long as that cunning old fox was uncertain of his son’s life.
A rebellion started by commoners was not something that nobles feared, especially when many retainers were loyal to Graudin. Time would pass, and the situation would slowly resolve itself without needing Count Randner’s interference.
However, if Graudin died, then this little group of rebellers would be challenging the nobles to the highest degree, even if that was not their intention.
Brendel had planned for the nobles to eventually realize this fact after Lord Macsen and Lord Palas’s defeat in the future.
He should have at least one or two more months, in theory.
Kodan seemed to have seen through his thoughts, and he gave a mysterious smile: “Don’t worry. These are just outside rumors, but the fact that you have appeared here made me realize it wasn’t a simple uprising done by Firburh’s citizens.”
He then shook his head: “But I’m not sure if you’re crazy, or I’ve gone mad. Aouine had not seen a rebellion since the ‘Year of the Lute’.”
‘Year of the Lute ‘ was mostly recognized for the demise of Hesse the First, who was also known as the ‘King of Roads’.
He was the most infamous king in Aouine’s history; a member of the royal family who came from the Seifer family. He established his own private army and stole from all merchants who passed through Aouine, regardless of whether they were natives or from other kingdoms.
The greedy king publicly announced that all the wealth transported through the kingdom belonged to him, and merchants had to give two-thirds of their goods to him. His tyrannical behavior ultimately angered everyone, and within three years he was chased off the throne.
In the end, he was the only king who died at the hands of commoners.
It was the darkest period of Aouine and was many times worse than the current Madara’s invasion. Everyone knew how badly the citizens were suffering under his rule. The term ‘uprising’ was rarely found in the continent’s history, and that year in Aouine was described perfectly with this word.
Perhaps this was the fate of all kingdoms regarding luck and power.
The Corvado family eventually established themselves as the rulers of Aouine for many years despite having unfavorable odds, yet Princess Gryphine would fail to reform Aouine despite having more supporters than her ancestors.
Ultimately, Madara defeated Aouine with the odds against them too.
Brendel pondered for a while before he shook his head: “Your promise means very little. We might be able to get along here, but once we leave the surface, how do we ensure that you’re not going to run away and inform your superiors?”
He could make Tagiv swear to its gods, but humans were a bunch of faithless people. Even though they would frequently bring up Marsha on their lips, they mostly treated it as a sham.
Kodan merely shrugged with open palms: “This old man is heavily injured. Even if I want to run, I can’t.”